By support

30th Oct, 2017 | 3:00pm

Early Leeds team news: Striker ruled out of clash v Derby

By Guy Giles

Leeds United boss Thomas Christiansen remains defiant over his team’s form ahead of their crucial clash with Derby County on Tuesday, but admitted that the match comes too soon for long-term absentee Caleb Ekuban.

Christiansen’s side come into the game against the Rams on the back of two consecutive defeats, a 3-1 loss to Premier League Leicester in the EFL Cup, and a 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United in the league.

Leeds lie fifth in the Championship on 23 points, with seven wins from their opening 14 games, but Christiansen’s side have come under pressure for their indifferent form in recent weeks.

Speaking to the press ahead of the game at Elland Road, Christiansen was quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post in their live blog as saying: “We are still in the play-offs, a position we all would have signed for until now.

“In this league it is very tough, you know that you make a few mistakes and many times that costs you three points.

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“The players are confident because they have my confidence. The players are professional and know that sometimes you are up and sometimes you are down. I am feeling it, I like the pressure.”

Christiansen also used the opportunity to provide an update on young striker Caleb Ekuban, who has been sidelined for two months with a broken foot sustained during their 2-0 win against Sunderland in August.

The Ghanaian-Italian forward signed for Leeds from Chievo Verona in July, and showed great promise with his pace and technical ability before his injury.

Christiansen had previously stated that Ekuban was close to returning, but has now revealed the Derby game proves too soon after the frontman only joined full training yesterday.

Finally, when asked what Leeds need to do differently to secure a win against Derby, Christiansen gave a blunt response: “Score the first goal.”

In other Leeds United news, this Sky Sports pundit has made a fascinating claim about the form of one of Leeds’ key players. 

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